I am hoping that ABC’s “V” takes the place that Heroes formerly occupied before it jumped dozens of sharks. It is too soon to be sure, but there is certainly promise.
The idea of space aliens coming to earth is something that this blog has explored previously. For example, in this entry I argue that intelligent agents from outer space provide an interesting opportunity to test various world view hypotheses. For example, years of movies and stories lead us to assume that an alien encounter would belong in just two possible classes: 1., the nasty creatures out to conquer us (Ie, “Independence Day” and of course “V.”) 2. the creatures are super intelligent and benevolent to such an extent that they are, for all practical purposes, Divine (ie, “Contact.”) In both scenarios, the atheistic evolutionary framework is presumed. But what if alien contact yields a different result? What if the aliens are mere creatures- but unfallen? Or, what if they hold to a belief system identical to Christian theism? That’d be interesting, eh?
While “V” does not appear to break this kind of innovative ground, it was a breath of fresh air to have one of the main characters be a Christian priest who is… wait for it… skeptical. Christians are often portrayed as gullible or extremist whackos (see again, “Contact”) and your hard core evolutionary atheistic types are veritable bastions of cool headed logic and reason (see the TV show, “Bones.”) (Yes, it’s true that one Christian in “Contact” was more reasonable, but he wasn’t exactly definitive about his beliefs, either).
The Christian priest in “V” issues forth a sermon that makes quite a bit of sense: “Before you jump on the bandwagon, make sure it is sturdy enough to hold you.” There is no atheistic foil in “V.” Nonetheless, I am pretty sure that your hard core secular humanist would accept without question a message presented to them by aliens like those we see in “V.” I know this because they already have.
I can’t believe that “V” is not deliberate commentary on the current political climate in America. It is just too pointed to be coincidence. But perhaps it is better to start at the beginning.
When the Visitors appear, they reveal their first message via… a television screen. I cannot think of a better way to win the trust of the American population then to pop onto a screen and eloquently state something to the effect of, “We mean you no harm. We’re awesome. We like you.”
This is a population that believes practically anything that they see on a screen. They are hyper-skeptical of anything written down and if its old, all the worse. Clearly, nothing that ‘wandering nomads’ thousands of years ago wrote down can be believed… but if someone pops onto television and says [fill in the blank] it is instantly accepted.
Probably the biggest laugh I had was when the ‘journalist’ is invited to interview the Visitor and the Visitor insists that nothing be asked that paints them in a negative light. The ‘journalist’ protests that it is journalism’s job to ask hard questions. Really! Since when? But perhaps that is the joke of the scene: the all powerful media brokers dictating terms to the ‘journalists.’
In the same interview, the Visitor announces the desire of the Visitors’ to offer medical assistance to all humans. The ‘journalist’ is aghast, “You mean universal health care?” The Visitor affirms this is exactly what they mean. And of course, the Visitors seem to have going for them the fact that they can heal 65 human ailments. Can anyone think of any other putative super intelligent entities who are surrounded by the ‘best and the brightest’ (read this ‘journalism’ carefully…) attempting to solve all the world’s social ills?
The Visitor comforts the journalist: “Sometimes, change is difficult.”
You see why it is hard to escape the conclusion that the writers of “V” are trying to take jabs at the Obama administration.
To top it off, when the journalist leaves the mother ship, one of the Visitors comforts him for making the right decision: “It was the right decision; compromising one’s principles for the common good is the right thing to do.”
Now, the Visitors turn out to be- as we expected- lizardlike sentient agents who are cloaked in perfect human skin. Despite the many similarities between the Obama administration and the Visitors, I for one am not persuaded that Obama is actually a lizard-man in disguise. For one thing, the Visitors turn out by the end of the show to be some pretty tough cookies that can handle themselves in a fist fight. Obama can’t get a pitch over the plate without bouncing it over and if I recall correctly, he bowled a scant 37 in his attempt to appear like EveryMan. I’m pretty sure rumors about his ability on the basketball court are highly overrated, but I’ve seen a lot of scrawny folks manage to sink a three pointer consistently, so who knows.
Of course, this could all be a charade, and in fact Obama is a lizardman who has wisely concealed his true physical strength.
The reader might be objecting at what seems to be a cheap shot. It is not so: I perceive Obama to be an ‘intellectual’ type who probably hasn’t done a day’s hard labor in his life. I have great difficulty believing that the man can relate to the real challenges of the ‘working man’ he is portrayed as working for. But I digress.
The Visitors portray a socialistic ideal that is virtually identical- in both content and in jargon- to the ideal presented to us by our Glorious Leaders. While I confess I get a kick out of that, I’m not sure if that will be able to hold me through the whole series. I hope that I see some metaphysical conversation. The series seems to be well positioned for that already by having characters who are explicitly Christian that are both skeptical and ‘adoring.’
But if it turns out to be a simple story of revolution against hope-mongering tyrants ‘who know best’ I probably will stick around, anyway. One hopes that our reality doesn’t mirror the social commentary too much- rather than a resistance movement, perhaps just an election will fix things.
One can hope- but if the man and his inner circle do end up wearing human skins that conceal an inhuman core- perhaps things may be different. That may seem an over reach, but when you’ve had such pathetic journalism for however many years, you can’t hardly trust anything people say anymore. You can only trust what they do, and that is what need to be watching now.
Watch this space for another reaction next week! And remember: compromising your principles is the right thing to do if it is for the common good! And don’t you care about the common good?